Organizational Politics: Political Behavior and Public Relations Practitioners
Here I am partial to a Russian saying: power is like a high steep cliff, only eagles and reptiles may ascend to it.
-- Furst ( 1991, p. 393)
He was one of those never interested in the choreography of power.
-- Ondaatje ( 1992, p. 195)
Chapter 5 examined how a political metaphor of organization focuses our attention on interests, power, and conflict. Our examination indicated that the political metaphor with which we are most innately familiar is one characterized by adversarial, pluralist democracy. Pfeffer's ( 1982) model highlighted the preconditions necessary for organizational politics to occur: heterogeneous goals and values, differentiation, and scarcity which, in combination, lead to conflict. If the conflict is salient to more than one group and these groups have a degree of dispersed power, politics will occur.
As a response to conflicting demands, politics is more than just a neat metaphor for understanding the workings of organizations. Politics is behavior. Politics is people confronting, cajoling, castigating, compromising, comforting, and creating. It is intimately linked with our interests and our power, our understanding of self as well as the organization. It is uniquely personal as well as often little more than a game to be played ( Baddeley & James, 1986; Cobb, 1986; Dobos, Bahniuk, & Hill, 1987).